Jack Harlow is a rapper from Louisville, Kentucky. His music often explores themes of charisma, desire for greatness, and his experiences growing up in the South. I personally enjoyed Jack Harlow’s old work but I lost interest soon after his first hit single, “What’s Popping?”
“Jackman.,” his newest album, surprised me after a first listen. The album is a brutally honest glimpse into Harlow’s present life and how his desire for rising even higher as an artist.
I found out about Jack Harlow from my brother in 2018 when with his mixtape “Loose.” I liked how he mixed melodic RnB-like hooks with rap. He gained massive widespread attention when he released “What’s Poppin” in 2020. Since then, Harlow’s style has leaned more into pop rap and less into the sound that I initially enjoyed. His latest project, however, is a refreshing step in a new direction.
The overall theme for “Jackman.” could best be described as a window into Jack Harlow’s present life. In the project, he writes about real topics like his reaction to his newfound fame, friends who’ve gone down different paths in life, and his love life. The album is set to smooth instrumental production that complement the song ideas well.
One track that immediately sticks out to me on the new album is “Gang Gang Gang.” In the track, he talks about how his friend was charged with a sexual assault charge and his disbelief in how someone he knew personally could have done something like that. The song continues to talk about other friends of his who got charged with crimes that are far removed from why he became friends with them in the first place. I was impressed by the fact that Harlow was willing to write about something so dark and personal. I could imagine it would take some confidence as an artist to be willing to discuss something so close to your real life.
I also enjoyed the track “Is That Ight?,” where Jack exclaims “I just wanna live my life, is that ight?” The track explores how Jacks Harlow wants to live a simple life, with no paparazzis, no flights, no social media use. He’s appreciative of his fame, but he wants to go back to living what he imagines as a “normal” life.
The only track that I really didn’t like was “They Don’t Love It,” because of the way Harlow claims he’s the “best white rapper.” I think he’s too early in his career to be talking about being one of the greatest. I can appreciate the desire to be great, but I think he has yet to prove himself.
Overall, I would give the album a 4 out of 5. The project was much better than his last and was a courageous and honest take on the artist’s life at the present moment. The production was incredible and the lyrics, on most tracks, left the listener with something to think about. Harlow’s rap style has always been smooth, and continues to excel in the same direction. I don’t listen to a lot of Jack Harlow’s music but I’m glad I gave “Jackman.” a listen and would recommend it to anyone else who wants to explore life themes over great sounding instrumentals.